MGMT 368 - Business Ethics
May 31, 2010 – July 24, 2010
Session 09/55Online Course
This course provides the student with the means for analysis of principles used to evaluate
ethical issues facing today's business community as well as to formulate possible
solutions. This course satisfies the General Education Ethics requirement for Business
Administration and Computer Information Systems majors.
Prerequisites: MGMT 330.
I. Overview and Course Goals
Welcome to Business Ethics online. This course will focus on issues and perspectives of right
and wrong in American business. The course begins with a survey of philosophical
approaches to ethics and morality and continues in an application of these approaches to real
world cases drawn from the functional areas of business.
Each week we'll focus on the understanding and application of philosophical ethical
perspectives to actual business situations through our online discussions, which are based on
your reading of the text and cases.
Week 1: Do you think "Business Ethics" is an oxymoron? If you do, you will be challenged
in the first week! We will study just what "right and wrong" can mean in general and how it
has and probably will continue to be applied by stockholders and stakeholders in the
American business experience. We will also explore the difference between a conventional
and a principled approach to ethics.
Week 2: Do the ends justify the means? If we make business decisions that provide the
greatest good for the greatest number, are we doing the right thing? The just thing? How can
we use these principles to evaluate business decisions? We begin our journey toward
understanding ethical principles this week by focusing on classical utilitarian approaches to
Week 3: Should we make ethical decisions based on principles and canons regardless of the
consequences? Is “treating others as we wish to be treated” a sufficient guide to right and
wrong? What is justice and how is it to be defined in a principled way? How might these
canons and principles apply to decisions in business? Our journey toward principled
approaches to right and wrong continues in an examination of a second major approach, a
deontological one that guides us on right and wrong by giving us rules and rights regardless
Week 4: We'll begin to apply principled approaches to ethics by exploring the morality of
institutions, namely capitalism and corporations. Can capitalism be defended against moral
criticism? What moral obligations do the modern corporation, and those within it, owe to
stockholders and stakeholders? The idea and form of a "social audit" and "codes of conduct"
will be introduced and explored with several real world examples from the increasing number
of companies who are taking it upon themselves to address ethical issues.
Week 5: We turn our attention to the ethics of multinational corporations and the role they
play in the countries in which they operate. Again, our goal is to understand the ethical issues
in these areas, particularly those involving the utilitarian and deontological conclusions that
principled ethical analysis would suggest. We will discuss some real world cases.
Week 6: We will focus on ethical issues involving executive compensation, whistle-blowing
and advertising. Who decides how much a CEO is paid? Are there "right" and "wrong"
approaches to marketing and advertising? We'll discuss these questions in the context of the
application of utilitarian and deontological approaches involving real world situations and
Week 7: We will consider ethical issues involving the employment relationship. What are
the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees? What are the ethical issues in
hiring, promotion, and compensation? What is discrimination and is it immoral under the
utilitarian point of view, Kantian-type analysis, or a Rawlsian-like approach?
Week 8 (the final week): We take a global perspective and consider suggested ethical codes
of conduct for multinational corporations and other organizations doing business across
geopolitical boundaries. This is a good chance to pull together the main threads of the course
in summary fashion in a global context.
II. Course Objectives
To describe the important moral issues that arise in various business contexts;
To identify the moral, social, and economic environments within which these problems
To identify the ethical concepts that are relevant to resolving those moral problems, and
To demonstrate the necessary reasoning and analytical skills for doing so.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Describe widely accepted consequential/teleological (Utilitarian) and non-
consequential/deontological (Kantian) theories of ethics.
Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of major theories of ethics.
Analyze ethical dilemmas in business.
Evaluate the economic justice of capitalism.
Prepare a written professional case analysis.
Prepare and deliver a professional oral case presentation.
Describe the utilitarian view of justice.
Describe the libertarian approach to justice.
Describe Rawls’ theory of justice.
III. Course Policies
The Instructor reserves the right to manage a positive learning environment and thus will not
tolerate inappropriate conduct in the course. Students are responsible for behaving in a
manner consistent with Columbia College’s Code of Student Conduct and Ethics Code for
Computer users. These codes can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. A
copy may be obtained by calling the Campus Life office at 573 875 7400.
There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual
orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or
Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are
required to register with the Coordinator for Disability Services. Until the student has been
cleared through the disability services office, accommodations do not have to be granted. It
is vital if you are a student who has a documented disability to read the entire syllabus before
signing up for the course. The structure or the content of the course can make an
accommodation not feasible. The policies and related syllabus matters remain subject to change
in the event of extenuating circumstances.
This course is offered online, using technology provided by Columbia College. Participation
on-line is expected to be continuous throughout the course. Absences from scheduled
activities may result in failing the course. Emergency leaves for scheduled activities must be
documented with the Instructor. Students are expected to read the assigned texts each week
and login to the class conferencing, and post message(s) to each of the topics provided in the
Discussion. Active participation in the course will guide students in studying for the exams
and in researching for the assignments. See "Ground Rules for Online Participation" for
If you have questions about navigating the course environment, you may wish to consult the
demonstration course at http://www.ccis.edu/online/demo.asp. The student manual
(http://www.ccis.edu/online/studentmanual/ ) is another great resource.
A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday, except for Week
8 when the week and the course will end Saturday at midnight. Both Discussions and
Dropbox assignments are scheduled for completion during a class week and should be
submitted or posted by the due date. The Discussions are due on Wednesday to allow for
interaction with replies during the rest of the week and due no later than Sunday midnight.
The Dropbox assignments are due at the end of the week.
NOTE: Because this is an online course designed to get feedback on assignments to you
directly via Internet, you must make prior arrangements with the Instructor before submitting
a paper in any other way. If you ever have problems transmitting your assignments to me,
telephone me immediately.
Ground Rules for Online Participation
Students should use e-mail and the Dropbox for private messages to the Instructor and
other students. The discussions section of the course is for public messages so we can see
what each other have to say about any given topic and respond if desired.
Students are expected to participate in online discussions as well as with other appropriate
online activities, including sending/receiving messages and navigating and conducting
research over the World Wide Web.
All students will observe conventions of "online etiquette" when communicating online
which includes courtesy to all users.
If you have a problem accessing the Columbia College website or a problem logging on to
eServices, you should contact the help desk. In addition, help desk technicians will
provide support with computer, telecom and audio visual questions and issues. The help
desk staff are currently receiving training on the basic areas of D2L as well, so they are a
good resource for students who have “how to” questions. The Solution Center can be
reached via phone at 573-875-HELP (4357) or 800-231-2391 x 4357. They can be
reached via email at CCHelpDesk@ccis.edu.
Students may get assistance with computer related problems through the instructor emailing
the D2L helpdesk at HelpDesk@desire2learn.com.
Written assignments should be prepared in MS Word and posted as an attachment to the
Dropbox and/or to the Discussions section.
All Columbia College policies are in effect as described in the Academic Dishonesty/Misconduct
section of the current college Catalog. All your work must be your own unless collaboration has
been authorized. If collaboration is authorized you must acknowledge the collaboration in
writing. Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written
presentation of these ideas. Presenting as one's own the words, ideas, or expression of another in
any form is cheating through plagiarism.
If you are unsure what constitutes plagiarism, review the rules of original writing at the
following web site: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/. This site provides valuable information,
including examples of plagiarism. To review some plagiarism tools available to students, take a
look at http://www.schoolsucks.com and www.termpapersites.com. The content of these
plagiarism sites would, if you were lucky, get you a "D" in this course if you were not caught. It
is substandard work indeed, but you will almost always be caught if you try to cheat, due to the
plagiarism prevention tools available to instructors. Here are two sites that may be of interest:
http://www.indiana.edu/~istd and http://www.plagiarism.com Plagiarism will not be tolerated
and the claim of ignorance is no excuse. Those found plagiarizing may fail the course. If I
determine the plagiarism was done, even in innocence, the student shall receive an F for the
assignment. If it happens a second time during the course, the student will receive an F for the
Collaboration with other students is not permitted without explicit permission from the
instructor. This is a form of academic dishonesty. Roommates and spouses taking the same
course should be particularly careful.
Levels of Communication
We will be using a minimum of two levels of communication in this course, one formal, and
the other informal. All Dropbox assignments are formal. They should be written as if you are
communicating with a client. The formal rules of proper English and grammar apply for
There are no penalties for misspellings, incomplete sentences, or other violations of
grammatical rules in the discussions. Your messages must be original and intelligible. You
must communicate effectively.
The grading system is designed to efficiently test knowledge of business ethics while
diversifying risk that a bad performance on any one effort leads to failure. Each student is
Completing weekly reading assignments.
Completing individual and collaborative online discussion assignments.
Completing requested Dropbox assignments.
Completing three papers (two assigned and one of choice).
Completing midterm and final examinations.
You will know in advance the standards for each assignment. My goal is to give you prompt,
clear, and useful feedback to help you become a better ethical thinker and writer. The grading
scale is based on the percentage of points earned, as follows: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-
79; D = 60-69; F = 0-59. Final grades for the course are absolute. As an example, a 79.4% is
recorded as 79.4% and will not be rounded up.
Given the diversity of the grade portfolio and resultant minimum risk, there is no route to
"extra credit." Do your best, make use of the text, online learning center, and course resources
and you should expect acceptable returns. You will be able to track your average exactly
throughout the course using the online grade book.
Discussion: Discussions must be posted during the week they are due in order to receive credit.
Three Papers/Dropbox Assignments: If no prior arrangements are made with the instructor,
dropbox assignments submitted after the Sunday they are due will be assessed a penalty of 10%
each day they are late.
Exams: If no prior arrangements are made with the instructor, the midterm exam will close at
midnight Sunday the end of week five and the final exam will close at midnight Saturday the end
of week eight.
It should be noted that this grading policy has historically resulted in an academically
acceptable standard of deviation of quiz and examination scores based on the comprehension
of ethical concepts following from ability and effort. The emphasis is on revealed
understanding of ethical concepts observed in application and explication involving the
functional areas of business, and not mere recall of information from the text. Adult learners
typically expect no less from a college course, whether delivered live or online.
Readings should be completed prior to submitting assignments for the week.
Discussions Assignments should be completed by Wednesday of the assigned week, and
responses to classmates should be posted by Sunday of the assigned week, which is the deadline
for both. Please post your initial response early in the week so others will have a chance to
respond. Discussion postings should be done after the readings are completed and before other
assignments due in the week.
Dropbox Assignments are short biographies of individuals who are celebrated either because
they have contributed a commonly adopted ethical theory or because they have earned acclaim
for exemplary ethical conduct. These assignments should tell something about the person and
their contributions to our study of business ethics. If no prior arrangements are made with the
instructor, dropbox assignments submitted after the Sunday they are due will be assessed a
penalty of 10% each day they are late.
Papers will involve ethical analysis of a real world business case. The topics of the first two will
be assigned. The topic of the third paper will be the student’s choice. Detailed paper assignments
appear in the “Dropbox” section of the online course.
Exams The Midterm and Comprehensive Final exams are “open book” and taken online. They
consist of multiple choice questions. The midterm is worth 140 points and the final is worth 200
points. Make-up examinations are allowed only for excused absences.
WEEK ASSIGNMENT MAX. PTS DUE DATES
Discussion #1 response Wednesday
Week 1 30 Points
Discussion #1 replies Sunday
Dropbox assignment #1 30 Points Sunday
Discussion #2 response Wednesday
Week 2 30 Points
Discussion #2 replies Sunday
Dropbox assignment #2 30 Points Sunday
Discussion #3 response Wednesday
Week 3 30 Points
Discussion #3 replies Sunday
Dropbox assignment #3 30 Points Sunday
Paper #1: Utilitarianism 100 points Sunday
Discussion #4 response Wednesday
Week 4 30 Points
Discussion #4 replies Sunday
Paper #2: Deontology 100 Points Sunday
Discussion #5 response Wednesday
Week 5 30 Points
Discussion #5 replies Sunday
Midterm Exam 140 Points Sunday
Discussion #6 response Wednesday
Week 6 30 Points
Discussion #6 replies Sunday
Dropbox assignment #6 30 Points Sunday
Discussion #7 response Wednesday
Week 7 30 Points
Discussion #7 replies Sunday
Paper #3: Topic of Choice 100 Points Sunday
Discussion #8 response Wednesday
Week 8 30 Points
Discussion #8 replies Saturday
Final Examination 200 Points Saturday
Total 1000 Points
Rubric for Discussion
Criteria Description Points
Content Provides substantive comments with content that addresses 15
the issue and enhances other students’ understanding
Level of participation Provides two or more substantive responses to classmates 15
that extend the discussion
Rubric for Biographies
Criteria Description Points
Content Content addresses issues critical to understanding the 15
contributions of this individual to the field
Supporting Details Provides supporting details, examples, and graphics 10
Format Uses MLA style 5
Rubric for Papers
Criteria Description Points
Introduction Presents the problem and outlines the case; identifies pertinent details as 20
well as the issues and stakeholders involved
Moral Presents the moral approach used and uses steps of a utilitarian or duty- 20
Argument based analysis
Alternative Presents and responds to alternatives that someone on the other side of 20
the question might take
Conclusion Presents a strong and persuasive conclusion with recommendations for 20
References References 3 citations – including the DeGeorge text and 2 outside 10
Uses reliable sources
Sources properly cited, using MLA style (internal citations and
Format 3-5 pages in length 10
follows MLA style
V. Required Text
Business Ethics, 7th ed., by Richard T. DeGeorge. (Prentice Hall, 2010), 523 pages with index.
The text can be ordered from MBS Books online by pointing your browser to
http://bookstore.mbsdirect.net/columbia.htm, or by telephone at 1-800-325-3252.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th ed., Gibaldi, ISBN: 978-1-60329-024-1
Publ.: Mod.Lang. Assoc.of Am. You will need access to a MLA handbook to complete
assignments. MLA guidelines are required for format and resources. You will need in-depth
knowledge of how to cite MLA sources within the text of a paper. Purchase of this text is NOT
mandatory but access to the proper MLA format is necessary.
Students: Please note that the use of an eBook carries certain risks: information may be
missing due to copyright restrictions, the book cannot be resold to MBS, and an eBook
purchase cannot be refunded.
VI. Course Schedule
Week 1: Conventional Morality and the “Myth of Amoral Business”
This week we will get acquainted with each other and with the course expectations and
discuss the myth of amoral business, Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development, and
Readings: Chapters 1 and 2.
Internet: You may find it helpful to browse some of the web sites provided on the
resource list for this course just to see what is there. You are not responsible for any
particular site or content; the goal is to give yourself a tour of the resources.
Discussion: Introduce yourself in the “introductions” topics of our class discussions,
which is our “virtual classroom.” Please give us more than your name. Include your
work activities, hobbies, interest in the course, and any other information that can help us
get to know you. This is not a graded assignment.
Discussions Assignment #1: This graded assignment for the Discussions section is on
the general question "When being presented with an ethical problem you have not
previously encountered, what criteria will you use to determine your action?" Write a
response to the question and post it in the discussion. Tell us how your answer compares
with others as well as replying to other student’s postings.
Dropbox Assignment #1: After watching the Kohlberg video in the Content section
under Week 1 and upon completion of the readings, write a short essay in which you
complete the following: "On Kohlberg's scale, I consider myself to be . . .” Be sure to
define this scale and relate your own sense of where you are on the scale to other levels,
with a brief explanation. The focus of your paper should be on why you think you are on
the particular level. See the dropbox for details. As with all written assignments, your
response should be double-spaced, using 12 point font, with one-inch margins.
Week 2: Systematic Approaches: Teleological Utilitarianism
This week's readings from the text identify a classic approach to deciding what is right and
wrong, that of the Utilitarian school. Those predisposed to this approach weigh the morality
of a given action by asking "did it do the greatest good for the greatest number?" We will
study and discuss the typical steps taken in this approach and how it could relate to business
Readings: Chapter 3
Internet: Do a search on Jeremy Bentham and learn who he was.
Discussions Assignment #2: After watching the Utilitarianism movie in the Content tab
under Week 2 write a response to the question “Does the end justify the means?” Give
examples of when the end justifies the means and when it doesn’t. Post your responses in
the Discussions section and feel free to respond to other students’ postings.
Dropbox Assignment #2: Write a 2 page biography of Jeremy Bentham and his
contribution to the study of Ethics. As mentioned in week one, your paper should be
double-spaced, 12-point font, with one-inch margins. See the dropbox for details.
Assignment of First Paper: Due in appropriate dropbox by end of Week 3: You should
begin working on your first paper assignment, to be due the end of Week 3. It will involve
a specific application of Utilitarian Ethics to a famous or infamous business decision.
Detailed guidelines on topic, organization, and approach may be found by clicking on the
“First Paper” dropbox or on the “Content” tab on your Course Navigation Bar and then
clicking on “First Paper.”
Week 3: Systematic Approaches: Deontological Duties, Rights, and Justice
This week we explore approaches to ethics based on the deontological idea that matters of
right and wrong are intrinsic and independent of the outcomes of individual or organizational
action. We will discuss teleological views of ethics involving the Judeo-Christian tradition,
the Kantian Categorical Imperative, and theories of social justice in the context of steps and
cases. By the end of the week, you should understand these approaches, as well as have a
general understanding of the steps to take in any general moral analysis.
Readings: Chapters 4 and 5
Internet: Do a search on Immanuel Kant and find out who he was.
Discussions Assignment #3: This week the assignment for the Discussions section is to
answer the question, “What does Rawls mean by a veil of ignorance? What purpose does
it serve?” Illustrate how the technique might be used in solving an issue of justice. Post
your response in the Discussions section and feel free to respond to other student’s
First Paper Due: The first paper on applied utilitarian ethical analysis is due in the
appropriate dropbox folder by the end of the week.
Dropbox Assignment #3: Watch the Kant Attack Ad video located in the Content tab
under Week 3 then write a 2 page biography of Immanuel Kant and his contribution to the
study of business ethics. See the Dropbox for details.
Assignment of Second Paper: Due in appropriate dropbox by end of Week 4. You
should begin working on your second paper assignment, to be due the end of Week 4. It
will involve a specific application of Deontological (Kantian and/or Rawlsian) Ethics to a
famous or infamous business decision. Detailed guidelines on topic, organization, and
approach may be found by clicking on the “Second Paper” dropbox or on the “Content”
tab on your Course Navigation Bar and then clicking on “Second Paper.”
Week 4: Ethics and Justice of Capitalistic and Corporate Organizations
This week we will examine American Capitalism and answer the following questions: Is
capitalism moral? What are the moral responsibilities of corporations to stockholders and
stakeholders? Can we morally defend the American version of capitalism?
Readings: Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 11.
Discussions Assignment #4: American Capitalism. Is a large discrepancy between
executive pay and that of the average worker unfair to the worker? Is it unfair to increase
a CEO’s compensation at the same time that he or she downsizes the workforce? What is
an ethically justifiable way to determine the pay of a CEO of a large corporation? Explain.
Before answering, watch the “Lehman Brothers CEO testifies on Capitol Hill” video in
the Content section under Week 4.
Dropbox Assignment: None this week.
Second Paper Due: Your second paper on applied deontological ethical analysis is due in
the appropriate dropbox by the end of the week.
Week 5: Ethics of Multinational Corporations
This week we will examine the role that multinational corporations play in the countries it
operates in. What moral responsibilities does a multinational organization have and may they
ethically operate in a country that engages in gross abuses of human rights?
Readings: Chapter 9
Discussions Assignment #5: Is it morally sufficient for a U.S. company to comply with
the laws of the foreign country in which it operates? Why or why not? What guidelines
should a multinational use to determine a fair wage to its employees in a less developed
country? Before answering, read the article “Multinational Corporations’ Ethical
Obligations” in the Content section under Week 5.
Dropbox Assignment: None this week.
Exam #1: This exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions from Chapters 1-9 and 11.
1. Access the Exam in the Quizzes section of the system platform and select the best
answer. Your exam will be automatically graded. You have 90 minutes from the time
you begin the exam to complete it. After completion, you will see your answers and the
Week 6: Morality of Corporations, Executive Compensation,
Whistle-Blowing, and Truth in Advertising
This week we turn our attention to the morality of corporations, ethics of executive
compensation, whistle-blowing and truth in advertising. How may utilitarian and/or
deontological approaches be used to determine executive compensation? When would
whistle-blowing be morally prohibited and how much loyalty should an employee owe a
firm? Is manipulation and coercion in advertising moral?
Readings: Chapters 10, 14 and 15.
Internet: Read about Dr. Wigand at www.jeffreywigand.com. Many of you will know
him as the subject of the movie “The Insider,” starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino.
Discussions Assignment #6: You are asked to post:
1. an example of a consumer product currently being sold that you feel is not a morally
2. an example of when whistle blowing is morally mandatory and when it is morally wrong,
3. an example of when marketing has crossed the line and become unethical. You may want
to base your choices on examples from observations or experiences in your personal or
professional life. To stimulate the discussion, watch the “ Early TV Commercials” videos
in the Content section of the course under Week 6.
Dropbox Assignment #4: Write a 2 page biography of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand. See the
dropbox for details.
Assignment of Third Paper: Due in appropriate Dropbox by end of Week 7: You
should begin working on your third paper assignment, to be due the end of Week 7. The
topic is your choice. Detailed guidelines may be found by clicking on the “Paper of
Choice” Dropbox or on the “Content” tab on your Course Navigation Bar and then
clicking on “Paper of Choice.”
Week 7: Ethics of Wages and Employment
What are the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees? When do wage
differences compensate ethically and when do they not? What is discrimination and how are
we to morally evaluate remedies for it?
Readings: Chapters 12, 13, 16, and 17.
Internet: Explore appropriate links involving wages, employment, and discrimination
found in the general pages of links provided in the resource list for this course as time and
Discussions Assignment #7: Watch the “Home Depot” video in the Content section under
Week 7 then answer the question: To what extent do employees retain the right of freedom of
speech on the job? Off the job? What about freedom of expression? Are there limits to
employee’s rights to freedom of expression on or off the job? Explain and give examples.
Respond at will to your fellow students' remarks.
Dropbox Assignment: None this week.
Third Paper Due: Third paper of your choosing is due in the appropriate dropbox by the
end of the week.
Course Evaluation: Please point your browser to your “eServices” home page and help
the college and instructor improve online education in general and this course in particular
with your ratings and comments about what you found to be exemplary and non-
exemplary during your online study of business ethics by following the “evaluations” link
found there. The availability dates and site will be posted on the Course Home page
Week 8: Ethics and Justice in International Business
This week we will consider “best practices” for a multinational company, exploring problems
and ethical guidelines for multinational business practices.
Readings: Chapters 18, 19, 20, and 21.
Internet: Watch the Rev. Leon Sullivan Documentary Excerpt in the Content section
under Week 8.
Discussions Assignment #8: This week you are asked to critically assess Merck’s deal
with INBio. Was it ethically justifiable? Why or why not? Who, if anyone, owns the many
species found in nature? Do they belong to the people who own the land or water on or in
which they are found?
Dropbox Assignment: None this week.
Final Examination: Exam #2: This exam covers Chapters 10 and 12-21 with 50
multiple choice questions. Your exam will be automatically graded. You have 120
minutes from the time you begin the exam to complete it. After completion, you will see
your answers and the correct answer.
VII. Instructor Information
Darryl Sanborn Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: (720) 255-6645